IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

20 Italian Christmas recipes for an amazing holiday feast

From Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, celebrate the holidays with these delicious Italian Christmas recipes.
Tiramisu Parfaits
Grace Parisi / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

From Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, celebrate the holidays like an Italian with amazing recipes from superstar chefs like Giada De Laurentiis, Lidia Bastianich and Andrew Carmellini.

Here are 20 amazing Italian Christmas recipes to try for appetizers, mains, pastas, sides, desserts, and cocktails.

We promise you'll be saying buon Natale (that's Merry Christmas in Italian!) in no time.

Italian Christmas appetizers

For a Feast of Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve or entertaining on Christmas Day, try these juicy prawns that can be served as hors d'oeuvres or an appetizer.

Baked Clams Oreganata

Baked clams oreganata are a must-have for a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes, which is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Delicate, but also packed with flavor, these little jewels from the sea are great as a starter or a main attraction.

Salmon and Avocado Tartare

This elegant appetizer has layers of salmon tartare, avocado puree and a crunchy shaved raw vegetable salad dressed with citrus vinaigrette. It's a great way to cut through traditionally heavier holiday fare.

Italian Christmas mains

Lidia Bastianich's Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Onions

Although it's made with just a handful of ingredients, this pork tenderloin looks (and tastes!) very impressive. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat, meaning this simple recipe is healthy, too. You can use any combination of onions you like, as long as you have about 8 cups in total.

Short Ribs Braciole

Short Ribs Braciole

Andrew Carmellini

This tender meat dish is a no-brainer since it's a crowd-pleasing main course for Christmas.The meat literally just melts in your mouth and the mouthwatering gravy is perfect over pasta or polenta.

Giada's Pork Chop Agrodolce

These chops have a balanced rich flavor (agrodolce means "sweet and sour") and they're made without the addition of a lot of unnecessary fats.

Italian Christmas pastas

Celebrate Christmas the Italian way. This classic dish is surprisingly successful and easy to make in your Crock-Pot. So let your slow cooker do the work if you're having a lot of guests over.

Spaghetti with Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This dish is perfect for an easy seafood dinner on a holiday weeknight or a fancier meal like the Italian Feast of Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve.

Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula

Giada De Laurentiis has plenty of pasta dishes but there's something incredibly comforting about this classic. Classic cacio e pepe gets a beautiful hit of additional saltiness from pancetta and more peppery bite from the leafy green arugula.

Creamy, rich and way easier than it looks, this fast pasta dinner idea comes from twin Italian chefs Tony and John Alberti. Fresh sage makes the sauce especially fragrant. Serve the pasta topped with crispy fried sage leaves.

Italian Christmas side dishes

Bacon makes everything better ... right? That's according to Italian celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich who makes her sauteed Brussels sprouts with walnuts and bacon.

If you have a couple dinner guests that are living the low-carb life, this delicious dish will be perfect to serve. It's so aromatic that it makes a great textural complement to meaty dishes like the Short Ribs Braciole, but also hearty enough that pasta lovers will likely be flocking to this plate, too!

Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and Chinese kale. Besides looking a little more elegant than traditional broccoli, it has a unique taste that is more bitter and slightly peppery. All you need to do is toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss it on a sheet pan, and roast it to perfection. Side dishes don't get any easier than this!

Italian Christmas desserts

Nutella Cake

Long meals can certainly make guests a little weary. Perk them up with this delicious drink: an espresso martini. The Alberti brothers serve it with an over-the-top Nutella cake for an all-around excellent chocolate buzz.

This gorgeous dessert has a luscious ricotta filling and an irresistible biscotti crust.

Sicilian Fig Cookies

Joanie Zisk / ZagLeft

This sprinkle-covered treat is a classic Christmastime snack in Italy that Joanie Z. of ZagLeft makes year after year. The little cookies are as delicious as they are eye-catching.

Try serving this lovely orange cake with a citrusy sparkling cocktail. The Alberti brothers suggest serving the cake with non-dairy ice cream, but it would also be delicious with regular ice cream.

Tiramisu Parfaits

Tiramisu Parfaits

Grace Parisi

Come dessert time, serving individual glasses of tiramisu is a piece of cake (well, not literally). Not only will these impress your guests, but everyone is guaranteed to get their own portion.

Italian Christmas cocktails

It might be cold outside but that doesn't mean you need heavy, creamy cocktails. Keep cocktail hour light and refreshing! This sparkling Italian Aperol spritz punch is perfect for a party.

Keep the pep in your party step with this cocktail that's made with coffee liqueur and espresso.

Limoncello is often served as a digestif after dinner so this cocktail hits all the right notes for a big feast. The Alberti twins call this citrusy sparkling drink the Albertini.